What brings you joy? Interesting question, isn’t it? On the surface, that question seems simple, but the more you let the question roll around in your head, the more it becomes a much more complex and introspective question. And it’s the perfect question to ask yourself as we kick off a new year.
On the surface, a new year is just another month and another day. But psychologically, the new year represents a time to reflect, take stock in ourselves, and think about what we would like to change over the days in front of us. It’s an opportunity for all of us to focus on what brings us joy and make plans to achieve our joy.
The interesting thing about the word joy is that it goes deeper than being happy. Joy is bigger than a single moment in time. It’s more encompassing, and it includes things like health, wellness and relationships.
A Focus On Health
Being in good health is an important component of joy. Partly because a healthy lifestyle provides us the energy, we need to do the things we love, and also because a healthy lifestyle enables us to experience everything around us. Healthy habits are a critical component of a healthy lifestyle.
As you think of the coming year, consider the potential adjustments that you could make to your lifestyle to become healthier. It could be:
- Reducing or eliminating smoking or alcohol
- Drinking more water throughout the day
- Eating more fruits and vegetables
- Reducing the amount of processed foods, you eat
- Incorporating workouts into your daily routine
- Going to bed earlier to get an adequate amount of sleep
- Reducing the amount of caffeine that you drink
Think of these as starting points. Consider which adjustment you are comfortable making and which will lead to more joy in your life. For example, if feeling more energized throughout the day would bring you joy, consider starting with reducing processed foods consumed and adding in more fruits and vegetables.
When we think of wellness, we often think of vitamins and going to the doctor. But wellness is much more than that. It’s about being mindful, expanding your horizons, developing, and achieving goals, practicing gratitude, and more. And being well can go a long way towards finding your joy in the coming year.
As you think about overall wellness, consider incorporating one of the following practices into your life:
- Writing down daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly goals
- Improving or enhancing work, hobby, or personal skills
- Incorporating meditation into your day
- Listening to motivational podcasts or videos
- Reading, or listening to, books
- Writing down affirmations daily
- Owning your actions
- Weeding negative people out of your life
- Avoiding complaining or speaking negatively about others
- Practicing gratitude for the people, things, and opportunities you have
Wellness is often a practice that utilizes more of your mind than your physical body. Learning how to control emotions, or to focus on what you can control, can help you become more in-tune with yourself, and in turn bring you more joy.
We have many relationships in our life – family members, spouses, significant others, kids, co-workers, neighbors, and others. In order for these relationships to flourish we need to nurture them. As you consider the relationships that you would like to see flourish, consider these ideas:
- Planning a regular date night with your spouse or significant other
- Learning about a topic that your child(ren) is very interested in, so that you can have a meaningful conversation about it
- Scheduling time with a friend to meet for coffee, or dinner (in-person, or virtual)
- Turning off the phone during dinner
- Eating your meals in the kitchen, or a table that is away from the TV, phone, video game console, etc.
- Listening to the person you are with and engaging in the conversation
- Asking questions of the other person to understand them better
While these suggestions may seem simple, implementing them can truly improve relationships.
Find Your Joy
Joy can come in many forms, and it will be different for everyone. Working on your health, wellness, and relationships is a bit of a catapult to finding and relishing in your own joy. With 2022 just beginning, we encourage you to try one or two of the practices above, and once you feel you’ve mastered them, layer in a few more. They can not only help you find your joy but can also lead to a more fulfilling year!